Fortnight of Transition, Day 5: Whose Children Matter?

2

September 13, 2020-

In some of my response to reports of abused and neglected children, it has come back at me that these particular campaigns are cherry-picked, Right-Wing trope activities. Maybe so, but I personally don’t cherry-pick, as to which children get attention and which go without.

Early in my counseling career, a severe sexual assault case was brought to me and the Response Team was in the midst of getting the victim to safety, when a call came about another child threatening suicide. I asked my senior partner to take that case and get back to me, once the child had been evaluated. This was unusual, for the particular community to have two victims at the same time, but there was no daylight, no distinction, between one child and the other.

One red flag, which discomfits many, is a child who gets too close, who hugs too tightly or even wants to sit on a non-related adult’s lap. I’ve dealt, gently, but firmly, with several such children, almost always girls-and who were either being totally ignored, shunned by their father or were being grommed by an adult either in, or known to, their immediate family. Getting the father to acknowledge, and spend quality time with, his daughter was relatively easy. The girls being taught sexual behaviours had, however, to be removed from the home and placed in group homes, where experienced professionals were able to give them the advanced therapy they needed.

I think of these children, a few of whom have kept in touch, as adults and are doing quite well, considering the ordeals that came their way. I think of them all the more, in light of the current Netflix film, “Cuties”, which uses exhibitionism as a vehicle to “combat sexual exploitation of children”. Counterintuitive, at best, and exploitative in itself, at worst, I see the showing of the film as a serious error in judgement. There was a period, from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s, when young European and South American girls were featured in some rather lurid websites-with the sites’ owners and photographers claiming their work was “art”. Fortunately, Interpol, the FBI, the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, of Germany, and, wondrously, the Russian FSB, at the direction of Vladimir Putin, took these sites down and the long process of finding and rehabilitating the child victims was initiated. I would not want to see anything close to that horrific state of affairs be repeated.

That said, the vast majority of sexual and physical abuse of children takes place in situations familiar to them, at the hands of people whom they ought to be able to trust. This makes it both simple and complex, for the helping professional- Simple, in that the child is easy to locate and remove from the home; complex, in that there is often a culture of denial in place, largely based on fear of disruption and dislocation of the family unit.

Getting co-operation from the other family members is completely dependent on their degree of self-assurance and cohesiveness, independent of the perpetrator(s). In a close-knit community, even law enforcement officers. medical staff and social services workers, if they are related to the perpetrator, can be a hindrance to justice for the victim.

All these factors come into play with regard to obtaining justice, and if the matter involves a child, or multiple children, being groomed in sexual behaviour, there needs to be both a swift separation of perpetrator(s) and victim(s) and active therapeutic measures initiated as quickly as possible.

No child, anywhere, is less important than any other.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 2: Personal Responsibility

2

September 10, 2020-

My mother turned 92 today. In our conversation this afternoon, she sounded well and had enjoyed a birthday lunch. She expressed pride in my having gone to help hurricane victims in Louisiana, a reflection of the stress she always placed on accepting responsibility and assisting the less fortunate.

I woke this morning, feeling a drag on my psyche. Knowing that one of the people, to whom I was alluding in the last post, would likely be the first to want my attention, I was slow to open my phone. Fortunately, I was able to hold the line on his accepting responsibility for his own success, while still offering help in a few areas that he could not have known how to handle . I must always try to be discerning.

Neither patronize, nor disparage. This is a tough row to hoe, as I’ve become quite used to doing things on my own and not wanting to have random people show up, wanting me to solve all their problems. At the same time, I have no problem pitching in to a group effort at dealing with social issues, dealing with an emergency that happens in my presence or doing a helpful activity that is scheduled. I guess it’s randomness that I find irritating.

This is also a heavy cosmic energy period. For the astrologically-inclined, seven planets are in retrograde, relative to Earth. This tends to throw us back, going over old ground. I have done well this year, at clearing out old, counterproductive habits and energies. There is still a bit left to tidy up, though, so maybe this retrograde season will help along those lines.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 73: Grasping at Straws

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August 12, 2020-

I am sensing an ennui,

among the people who

comment, investigate

and postulate about

the whos, whats and whys

behind serious matters,

and more quotidian fare.

There is less concern

these days,

with fact,

than with

titillating innuendo.

There is less willingness

to work through an issue,

than to hand off

the matter to

one of the “favoured few”.

There is a joy,

when one finds “clickbait”

on an individual

whom one claims to loathe.

It’s easier to issue

an armchair condemnation,

than to call out the person

and insist on specific steps

that s(he) could take,

in order to rectify

one’s legitimate grievances.

Building legitimacy,

though, is hard work.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 62: What I Want in August, Part II

2

August 1, 2020-

Half of any soulful person’s wish list, at any given time, is what is wanted for the community. My list, in this regard, is both simple and complex.

The simple things: Our neighbourhood children may continue to come and go as they please, safely, through the alleys, yards and creekbeds that outline their world. Instruction, whether online or in-person, starts soon and engages minds. People gather downtown, or in public parks, and enjoy their time, without having to justify their beliefs. Nursing homes are able to permit visitors, even with screening for temperatures, before too many more weeks have passed.

The complex things: Our election goes off, without a hitch, on the day scheduled. Those erstwhile friends of mine, now acting more like acquaintances, come to see past their sectarian and political blinders and look at the hearts of those, including me, who hold no ill will towards them or anyone else. Freedom of travel returns, and is not made subject to the partisan views or “one-size-fits-all” health prescriptions of either government officials or private citizens of means. Recognition that the lives of preborn children, infants, toddlers, school-age children and adolescents are universally sacred.

August is said to be a month of masculine energy. I know I will be plenty busy.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 55: Day Out of Time

2

July 25, 2020-

Today, in a Celestial Calendar, that has 13 months of 28 days, with one end day, July 25, which is called Day Out of Time.

Is there such a thing as Black Saturday?

Today might have qualified.

Nothing bad happened TO me,

but around my perimeter, and beyond.

I am sick of the social blindness,

the distractions,

the attacks on innocent people

that are keeping us from

accomplishing what is necessary

as a people, as a nation.

I am sick of obfuscation, gaslighting,

demands that everyone follow

the Party Line.

I am furious at the carnage,

the fake fires, the murders

and attempted murders,

all in the name of “security”

or “purity”.

I stayed mostly around home

and off the pay-per-view

Unify festivities.

Enough is enough,

and tomorrow will be

nicer.

Two Kids

6

April 27, 2020-

There were once two children, who were the best of friends.  The first lived in a large house, was given all manner of toys and games, had a Nanny and was rarely disciplined-except for when his mother told him how stupid he was.

He was, in fact, rather impetuous, would hit adults and call other kids names.  His mother just told him that was very STUPID.  His father, rather aloof, was also seldom in his life.  Dear old Dad taught the boy how to golf and how to get the drop on other people.  His Nanny was kind to him, and taught him to pray to Jesus, so to the extent he listened, it was mainly to her.

The other child was the Nanny’s own daughter.  Since the boy was not allowed out of the compound, she was his closest companion and saw goodness in him.  She lived with her mother in a small cottage, on the mansion grounds.  The boy was forbidden by his parents from going over to the servants’ quarters, but the girl could play board games and do her homework in one of the family rooms of the Main House.

As they got older, the boy was given to a sort of rebellion, as many children are, when going through adolescence.  His tantrums both got worse and resulted in his mother taking a belt or a broom to his derriere, nearly on a daily basis.

The Nanny objected to this treatment, and after several protests, she was fired.  Father explained to the bewildered son:  “This is what you do, when underlings disobey. You tell them they are fired.”  Of course, this meant that his friend, his sole reliable companion, was also gone-never to return.  Truth be known, they were becoming more than  friends.  The dismissal happened, a few days after an afternoon of casual exploration, in the woods behind the cottage.  Boy was convinced it was more than just his Nanny’s protests that caused the rupture in his life.

So, a few days later, the boy crawled over the wall to his compound, knapsack in hand, and made his way to the  address which his friend had written on a napkin, which was also filled with her dried tears.   Her mother was not at home, having found work in a factory down the street from their new residence.  The girl was elated to see her best friend, and so the casual exploration continued.

Boy never went back to his parents’ house, and not surprisingly, they never bothered to look for him.  They never got to know their three grandchildren, who called the Nanny “Abuela”.

(Any relation between the characters in this story and real people, is purely coincidental.)

 

Before

10

January 29, 2020-

There is always a prerequisite.

Before the day gets going,

there is grooming.

Before there is a conversation,

there is greeting.

Before there is a journey,

there is time and money set aside.

Before there is a relationship,

there is mutual knowledge,

trust and commitment.

Before there is a life well-lived,

there is a moral compass.

Before a door can be closed,

it must first be opened,

and passed.

 

No One Should Be Pushed Along

6

January 8, 2020, Sedona-SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

I can remember, when I stood in front of Mona Lisa, in case and air conditioned room, in the Louvre.  All manner of frenetic tourists were jockeying for position around me,  not rushing me-but bickering with one another, in a variety of  tongues.  All this, for a few seconds per person, to take a self-portrait with the Lady of Mystery.  I did not take a selfie, but was content to have her countenance recorded in my photo album of France’s premier art institution.  I needed ten seconds.

I think of this, when waiting for fellow hikers or other visitors to complete their time at a an overlook or striking scene.  Each of us has the same right as anyone else, to enjoy wonders great and small.  No one who might be impatiently toe-tapping, while waiting for the people in front of them to be done and move on, can know just how important these small moments in the midst of grandeur might turn out to be for the seeming dawdlers.

My little family and I waited, atop Submarine Rock, at the end of Little Horse Trail, while the people in front of us, finished taking photographs, and taking in the astonishing view.  This took about five minutes, and was, as often happens in my experience, followed by one of the men offering to take photos of the three of us atop the rock.  My daughter-in-law then took more shots of the men, from another vantage point.

This is one way that friends are made, and everyone’s enjoyment of a wondrous tableau is enhanced.  How much more pleasant would the afternoon been, for the tourists in Chez Mona Lisa, had there been a bit more camaraderie!  I may be dreaming, but that is my wont.

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Heaven’s Rain

11

September 23, 2019-

A Tropical Depression arrived today.

It’s been named Maria.

I know a few women by that name.

None of them are depressing.

This Maria brought some rain to us,

and is hinting at more.

Any rain in an arid environment

is Heaven’s rain.

It is beloved by the living, sentient beings,

by the cacti, succulents and trees,

by the rocks,

and even by the sand,

as it, too, likes a departure

from the sameness

of each day’s scorching Sun.

We, the stewards,

treasure this falling sustenance.

As it happens, I spy the figure

of a mouse,

looking down from its perch

among the clouds,

confident that the gift

of the storm,

on which it rides,

will sate the collective thirst

of us below,

if only for a day,

or three.

The storm knows

that some are inconvenienced,

by the floods it has brought.

It knows, too,

that some of these beings,

may do the same things,

the next time a storm

brings the gift of sustenance.

Not all, but some.

Heaven will send its rain,

nevertheless.

Closure

15

May 22, 2019-

I was invited, by my former building principal, to attend an end-of -year barbecue.  I went, and he greeted me pleasantly at the door.  A few former co-workers exchanged small talk, and I had a nice lunch. Predictably, some of the elite in my former department turned their backs when I sat down.  That’s what they do.  I did not budge from my seat.

Closure, in a stratified environment, is often hard to achieve.  I give the principal, and my former team members credit, though, for having the integrity to not define me by the unfortunate misunderstandings that led to discretion being the better part of valour, last month.  The principal did what he had to do, and everyone else adjusted.  There was simply no time, or space, for a proper investigation into the false accusations.  I know this, from having been in his shoes.  There are some very fluid situations, on occasion, and time does not wait around.  The safety of students is what matters most.

Education will continue, and will hopefully continue to improve.  I will keep on going and, even if I find it difficult to remain in this community after this Fall, I will find peace wherever I am.  At least I have closure, with regard to leaving my post.